Last week you guys published 1.4 million new blog posts, but you only ran the spell checker about 204 thousand times. Ahem. The two possible explanations for this are that we’re all perfect writers or that we just forget to run the spell checker. I’m in the latter camp.
It’s amazing to me how hard it is to edit one’s own writing. I can read something I’ve written ten times, even speak it out loud, and miss obvious errors and mistakes that an editor (often Jane) spots on their first pass. And what if Jane isn’t around?
Now there’s a solution for everybody. It’s already live on your blog, and it’s from a company called After the Deadline. Here’s a video to introduce you to it:
When I first tried After the Deadline I was blown away; it was so much better than other checkers I’d used, and it was by one guy building this thing that solves a problem other folks have teams of PhDs trying to solve. I reached out to Raphael (the one guy) to see how we could get this technology in front of WordPress users and ended up doing a deal for Automattic to buy his entire company.
The other cool thing about this new technology is that it’s getting better every day — Raphael is constantly adding new rules and heuristics, and the technology is learning from millions of blog posts on WP.com to make the contextual parts of the checker smarter and smarter.
At its core WordPress has always been about writing — that’s why we put so much effort into things like the visual editor, revisions, and auto-save, so you never lose your work. Now you have another arrow in your quiver to help you present the best possible face to your readers and the world.
As the video above shows, you can enable and customize the way After the Deadline analyzes your posts by adjusting the new Proofreading settings in your profile, and then use the new feature by clicking on the icon in the Visual Editor toolbar that has ABC and a green checkmark on it. After the Deadline will analyze your post as you write it and highlight potential errors with an underline (red for spelling, green for grammar, blue for style), similar to grammar and spell checkers in word processing software. Clicking on a highlighted word or phrase will reveal the suggested correction, tell you why it’s suspected to be an error, and allow you to accept or ignore it.
You can read more about the story behind Automattic acquiring After the Deadline on the official AtD blog.
This feature is English-only for now (give us a little time) and available for WordPress.org as a plugin.
Sep 8th at 8:54 pm
Exhibit #1: “Last week you guys published 1.4 million new blog posts, but you only ran the spell checker about 204 thousand times. Ahem. ”
Exhibit #2: “(…) the technology is learning from millions of blog posts on WP.com to make the contextual parts of the checker smarter and smarter”.
So, if no one focuses on fixing one’s mistake, and AtD learns from non-checked posts, wouldn’t that make it dumber and dumber?
Sorry, I just had to point at this funny tidbit:)
Excellent find, Matt, and I look forward to seeing this implemented in other languages! Great great move, really!
Sep 8th at 9:10 pm
I give you a little time, but then I’ll need it for German language or let’s say the Austrian way using it
Sep 8th at 9:15 pm
Yes! This is a big improvement over the old spell-checking system. What a pleasent surprise as I was finishing my latest post. This will make my blogging a heck of a lot easier. Good job WordPress.
Sep 8th at 9:29 pm
I wonder why its called “After the Deadline”. Does it imply there’s still time to make that cricual change before the deadline? But in that case wouldn’t it be called “Before the Deadline”?
Sep 8th at 9:36 pm
And what about Russian language?
Sep 8th at 9:36 pm
I never used spell checker as something automattically checked my words as I typed them, what is it?
Anyway, GREAT new littel thingy to play with Matt, thanks!
Sep 8th at 9:48 pm
“A unique way of spelling a specific word.” Hilarious.
Funny thing: I accidentally stumbled upon these options a few minutes ago. The strange thing is, I haven’t been to that page on my profile for almost a year. What are the odds?
Sep 8th at 9:56 pm
Sweet! I’ll be an author of untold heights. Thanks!
Sep 8th at 10:24 pm
Last week you guys published 1.4 million new blog posts, but you only ran the spell checker about 204 thousand times. Ahem. The two possible explanations for this are that we’re all perfect writers or that we just forget to run the spell checker.
FF spell checker – the WP s/c is a bit more “choppy” and on bad connections has led to loss of data, (ie tries to save the draft but bad connection corrupts (in lack of a better term) it).
Sep 8th at 10:26 pm
Hmmm – thanks for the tip!
Sep 8th at 10:28 pm
Nice improvement to WP users!.; )
PS.: The link to video in post is missing… ; ) – “Here’s a video to introduce you to it:”
Greetings from Brazil
Sep 8th at 10:29 pm
Awesome. Works great.
Sep 8th at 10:35 pm
it’s good to know that wordpress team really works hard. thanks!
Sep 8th at 10:57 pm
Sweet! Thanks for constantly improving this site. I’m a relatively new user, yet I’ve seen some fabulous changes in just a few short months. Color me impressed.
Sep 8th at 10:59 pm
I think this sounds and looks fantastic, I can hardly wait to use it.
Sep 8th at 10:59 pm
It sounds good! I must say, I usually cut ‘n’ paste my articles from Word into my blog and webpages and just use the spellchecker there first. Maybe this will save me time and Qi.
Sep 8th at 11:13 pm
Fascinating. The example picked up two of my big pedantic issues. I absolutely HATE the use of UTILIZE instead of USE. But most people think it’s SO much better to use a multi-syllable word! the other one is SOMEONE THAT. Now, downunder we were taught that you always use WHO after people but THAT (or WHICH) after things. However, I believe that in the USA, THAT after people is perfectly ok. It grates on my delicate ears but I have checked USA grammar books and I believe it is OK. Or, did I read incorrect USA grammar books? Whatever, I will use this product in future.
Sep 8th at 11:21 pm
¡Genial! Otra forma de corregir las faltas cómodamente, me gusta.
Sep 8th at 11:23 pm
AWESOME!! (How long has it been since I used that emote?)
I’m good at spelling and grammar, but every so often, I misspell words and make mistakes in grammar in my blog posts. The spell checker didn’t help much, but this new one will be terrific! All we need now is a spell checker for comments!
What will you guys think of next? Will WordPress give us the power to fly?
Sep 8th at 11:25 pm
Congratulations both Automattic and After the Deadline!
Sep 9th at 12:29 am
wowie wow wow wow. Absolutely amazing!
Sep 9th at 12:33 am
I don’t need spell checkers, and people shouldn’t.
Sep 9th at 12:50 am
Extremely interesting! I bet 9 out of 10 companies do not think on this aspect [just as only 204 people or instances of spell checking obtain in 1.4 million new blog posts]!
I am not surprised the comments here are rather long. I am as much excited because I love the English language!
And you bought the company itself!!! Birds of same feather always flock together!
I saw a WP video for the first time, great quality and AtD has lot of features! Artificial intelligence, ahem!
I read their FAQ: The name ‘After the Deadline’ is inspired by the NY Times After Deadline blog!! Interesting!
I am addicted to ‘Windows Live Writer’ and will either submit drafts from it to the editor to use this service or simply or will check it at ‘polish my writing’!
Sep 9th at 1:00 am
When you say ‘English’, do you mean American English?
Sep 9th at 1:08 am
I’ve been using Firefox’s spell checker (partly because formatting is easier in Firefox than IE), but it has nothing for grammar. This is a welcome feature.
Sep 9th at 1:26 am
“You can get it today as a plugin.”
Matt, thanks, I read that part
I am wondering if this functionality will be part of future WordPress releases, so I don’t have to download and install the plugin in all of my WP installations.
Sep 9th at 1:30 am
Glad to hear it!
Sep 9th at 2:25 am
Well, maybe if the existing spellchecker wasn’t so broken, more people would have used it… Between all the false positives and the tendency for it to randomly eat spaces in front of flagged words (often cvreating more errors than it fixes) I found it easier to just cut and paste into Word.
Sep 9th at 2:28 am
“Over-used cliches” is redundant.
Sep 9th at 2:41 am
A very useful and customizable feature – thanks
Sep 9th at 3:11 am
Since I’m not seeing the “z” corrected in utilise, I’m assuming it is USA spelling? Didn’t see the option for no weird American spelling in the video.
Sep 9th at 3:20 am
NICE!!! I can’t wait to turn my college students on to this when they start their blogs in a week or two!! Thanks–from me and them! (Now, will this be something we’ll ever be able to use with comments?? That’s where I need it!)
Sep 9th at 3:38 am
this is very useful, indeed. thanks heaps, WP! <3
but i guess it will take ages till we can have this feature in Vietnamese. :'(
Sep 9th at 3:38 am
im not sure about this one.. yeah im all up for easy work. but i like the mistakes.
Sep 9th at 4:49 am
awesome feature. i love it.
Sep 9th at 5:09 am
I don’t like using mechanical editors too but this one works like human!
BEST I’ve ever used- and just a newbie ‘AfterTheDeadline’ on WP at that.
Just between us (isn’t it unethical to use this as my personal spell-check outside WP?)
Sep 9th at 7:06 am
Wow, that’s a pretty short list of possibilities that you have there. … As for me, I run the spell checker I have in Firefox before I post my blog via ScribeFire. … And there are a lot more third party posting options than ScribeFire.
… Would that account for a couple hundred thousand postings without spellcheck?
Sep 9th at 8:57 am
Good to hear this available as Plug in.. Just a question Matt? Is it possible to integrate “After the deadline” with Comments box by default?
Sep 9th at 10:00 am
That’s great work but don’t you think it will ask for additional bandwidth and load time ?
Sep 9th at 10:40 am
I would use it but it only seems to know English, at least I couldn’t find any setting to switch it to another language.
Sep 9th at 11:00 am
Great tool. I’ve just gone back in to check a post I had already published and found a couple of errors that I have now corrected. Cool. Thank you. Much appreciated.
Sep 9th at 11:40 am
Very good, I am waiting for german grammar and style !
Is it possible, too ?
Sep 9th at 11:45 am
Wow! New stuff coming out all the time. A good tool to have.
Sep 9th at 11:55 am
Great feature. Maybe it can even help you to stop using derogatory and prejudicial slang like “lame” in your own WordPress posts.
Sep 9th at 1:23 pm
This sounds really great. Wait, is that proper grammar? This will come in real handy for me because I really do stink at grammar. Great job WordPress!!
Sep 9th at 2:13 pm
This is awesome. So is WP, for finding and sharing it!
Sep 9th at 2:45 pm
Useful for me, as English user as second language.
Sep 9th at 3:56 pm
I never thought spell checking could be so easy. I always looked at it as a chore, but now I’m actually looking forward to it. Thanks WordPress!
Sep 9th at 5:01 pm
This is really cool. This will definitely help with my constant “its” and “it’s” problem.
Sep 9th at 5:55 pm
THIS IS AN AWESOME SITE. THANK YOU FOR THE FREE BLOG ACCOUNT AND A GREAT SPELL CHECK PROGRAM.
Sep 9th at 6:06 pm
“… or that we just forget to run the spell checker.”
Now that you’ve got this new and improved checker, why not turn it on by default?
If a blog owner finds it annoying, they can press the button to turn it off. It would be good if WordPress could then remember their decision for their next session.
Also, would be very good to see this applied to comment writing – comments are generally written more quickly and with less review than blog posts, it seem to me that they would benefit even more from AtD. Improving the written standard of comments would increase the amount of people adopting the habit of reading comments, increasing the average time spent on each WordPress.com post.
Sep 9th at 8:02 pm
I never even bothered to spell check… I wonder if I will? “_
Sep 10th at 2:54 am
This is a great new feature! I love it! I for one, know that I don’t take a ton of time to check my spelling and grammar.
Sep 10th at 3:21 am
This is a great feature thank you adding this helpful feature. Another great reason why WordPress Rocks.
Sep 10th at 11:26 am
Yeah, but this would fully mess with the way i, like, express myself, dude. I’ve worked long and hard to develop my personal voice, and i don’t want no ROBOT turning my edgy, out-there posts into soulless automata that sound like a bunch of freakin’ job applications…
Sep 10th at 2:05 pm
No it won’t fully mess with the way you, like, express yourself… It’s toggle-able ; ]
Sep 10th at 3:29 pm
This tool is not only useful in bloging but also helps people to know where they are going wrong in spelling as well as grammar (It doesn’t seem all issues are added). Thanks a lot. By the way how to use the plug-in in word editor? Sorry, asking questions is prohibited here but answer has already been given here which forced me to raise this follow-up question.
Sep 10th at 6:17 pm
I do spell check but in word before I paste my post. But this will be an additional help. Thanks
Sep 10th at 6:33 pm
For now, all ihave to say is that i am very glad for joining this site
Sep 10th at 9:09 pm
I write in two languages on my blog. It would be nice if it was possible to switch between the grammar, depending on the language I use.
Also there are browsers which include dictionarys (but no grammar checks), so there was no need for me to press the spelling button.
Sep 10th at 10:36 pm
So it doesn’t suggest that you write “204 thousand times” as “204,000″?
Sep 11th at 1:37 am
Thanks so much!! Grammar is an incredibly important aspect of writing, and I need all the help I can get! Thanks! Another perk from Word Press!!
Sep 11th at 2:55 am
Oh, thanks. Real live human editors and proofreaders don’t get no respect anymore.
EDITORS OF THE WORLD, UNTIE!
Sep 11th at 2:07 pm
AtD is great for that last-minute proofreading. Thanks to Raphael and WP for adding this really neat plugin!
Sep 11th at 2:57 pm
Of course, many of us compose offline in Word (or another word processor) and run our spellchecks there – and then paste the final product into WordPress.
Sep 11th at 5:57 pm
Hope it’s available for WP.com soon too!
Sep 11th at 6:20 pm
Thanks so much for working diligently to give us the top of the line blogging tools and experiences!
Many blessings to you!
Sep 11th at 7:34 pm
I write my posts in a word processor first (NOT ‘Word’, as I’m English and therefore allergic to anything Bill Gates tells me my language should be) and speall check it, if necessary, within that. Thanks anyway.
Sep 11th at 8:29 pm
Pretty cool! Love it! =) Thanks!